University of Illinois at Chicago
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The Pessimistic Induction and The Epistemic Status of Scientific Theories

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posted on 2016-10-29, 00:00 authored by Burkay T. Ozturk
Virtually all prominent critics of the Pessimistic Induction have so far assumed that in order to defeat the argument, one must show that there is a degree of continuity in the history of science at the level of theory. In my dissertation I challenge this assumption and argue for three theses: (I) The assumption in question can lend support to at best a very impoverished form of optimism about only bits and pieces of our best scientific theories is warranted. (II) A more promising strategy is possible: The Pessimistic Induction can be defeated if we can show that the evidence today's scientific community has for our best theories is qualitatively and quantitatively superior to the evidence past scientists had for their best theories. (III) The evidence today's scientific community has for some of our best theories (such as the Fermi-Landau Liquid theory) is unequivocally better than its historical predecessors, while there is no observable unequivocal improvement as far as the evidence we have for the theories in behavioral and medical sciences is concerned.



Huggett, NicholasKlein, Colin V.



Degree Grantor

University of Illinois at Chicago

Degree Level

  • Doctoral

Committee Member

Klein, Colin V. Hilbert, David Sutherland, Daniel Parker, Wendy

Submitted date



  • en

Issue date